The House Buying Process


Whether you are a first-time buyer or moving home, the house buying process can be a confusing and daunting one. Here’s our step-by-step guide to the process and what you should do at each stage.

Get a deposit together

You will need to have a deposit to be able to buy a property. You will need at least 5% of the purchase price of the property, but the general rule is the more the better.

If you are a first-time-buyer, this would normally be made up of your own savings and maybe some help from family.

If you are selling your current home, then the deposit will probably come from the equity in your current home.

Also, don’t forget that you will have additional things to pay for, such as solicitors, surveys and possibly estate agents fees if you are selling a property as well.

Obtain a Mortgage in Principle

This will give you a good idea about how much you can spend on a property and will also confirm to estate agents that you are ready to proceed if you put an offer forward for a property.

Barlow-Irvin will happily provide one of these for you.

Find the perfect property

The fun part. You are now ready to start the search for your new home in earnest, knowing how much you can spend and that you are mortgage ready.

We would always recommend viewing a few properties to get a feel for what is available in your price range.

It’s also a good idea to view your favourite ones a couple of times, preferably at different times of day to get a feel for the area and traffic, etc. 

Put your offer in

When you have found your dream home, it’s time to start negotiating on the price. There are lots of schools of thought on how you should do this.

Our advice is to offer what you think the property is worth to you. You can play the hard game and start with a low offer, but if this is your dream home, don’t risk losing it over a low offer when you would be prepared to pay a little more. 

Appoint a solicitor

You will need to appoint a solicitor to deal with your purchase. There are many ways to find the right solicitor for you. 

Your estate agent will probably recommend one or you may have one in mind already. Barlow-Irvin can also recommend one for you from our panel of trusted partners. 

Although it may be tempting to opt for the cheapest quote, your solicitor is a vital cog in the wheel of your home purchase, so choosing a professional and reliable one is really important.

Put your mortgage application in

Now is the time to get that mortgage application in. Let us know the details of the property you are buying and the price agreed, and our team of mortgage experts will find you the perfect mortgage deal.

When we have received all of your documentation (our guide to the documents needed for a mortgage can help), we will submit the application to the lender and make sure your mortgage offer is received as quickly as possible.

Get your survey done

A basic survey will be required by the mortgage lender and will be arranged by them as part of the mortgage application process.

This can sometimes be paid for by the lender, but there is a chance that you may need to pay for this. 

Typically, this will cost around £300-£500 depending on the price of the property.

You can also opt for a more detailed survey, such as a Homebuyers Report or a full structural survey. Your Barlow-Irvin experts will talk you through these options and the costs and benefits of each one.

Receive your mortgage offer

When the lender has completed all of the underwriting checks and has the valuation report from the surveyor, they will issue you your mortgage offer.

This is the formal approval of your mortgage. The lender will send out 3 copies of the offer. You will receive one, we will receive one and your solicitor will receive one.

Your copy and our copy are just for informational purposes and your Barlow-Irvin experts will thoroughly check the offer to make sure it is correct.

The copy that is sent to your solicitor will also contain instructions for the solicitor on any additional checks they need to do.

Exchange contracts and completion

Exchange of contracts is the term used when the purchase is legally agreed. This happens when your solicitor is happy with all of the checks on the property and has received your mortgage offer.

This is the point where you are legally bound to purchase the property and the vendor is legally bound to sell. 

Completion is the exciting day whereby all money changes hands and you are now officially a homeowner. This is when you can collect your keys from the estate agent and start moving in. 

About the author 

Gary Oxborough

Gary is the Founder and Director of Barlow Irvin Financial Services Ltd. He has been in the Finance industry for over 20 years and has specialised in Mortgages since 2003. As well as running the firm, he is still actively involved in advising clients.

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